Monthly Archives: July 2009

The Magic of Potluck

I grew up going to church potlucks where dish after dish after dish were lined up on long tables. The aroma was enticing and the waiting was excruciating. The funny thing about potlucks is that none of those dishes really go together. It’s a mish mash of dozens of different meals plus the obligatory bucket of fried chicken. You wouldn’t necessarily pair those recipes when making dinner for your family. But when you get your plate and make your way down the table, taking a dab of this and a dollop of that so that you can try as many of the dishes as you possibly can, that’s when the magic happens. You sit down with your heaping plate of potluck fare, dig in and find that while each dish has a uniqueness of it own, they all inexplicably go together to create a delicious, comforting and satisfying meal.

On a beautiful spring night, a little over two years ago, a group of women bloggers came together for food and fellowship. We all brought a dish or two to share, your typical potluck meal. And again, the magic happened. The dishes ranged in variety from ethnic to vegan to garden fresh to grandmother’s old recipe. I think the only thing missing was a bucket of fried chicken! As I sat back in my chair and relished in the food and laughter and conversation, it occurred to me that we had our own blogger potluck sitting around that table.

If you were to take the blogs of each of the women there that night and place them on a table, you wouldn’t necessarily think that they “went together”. The flavors and aromas, textures and tastes would not, to the unaware palette, seem appealing. The world would want to put labels on us and tell us that we could not get along because of our differences in political views, religious beliefs  and so forth. On the surface, we should have clashed and been unable to even get along.

But we didn’t, because we know the magic of potluck. We’re a sisterhood of bloggers who are as seemingly different as macaroni & cheese and molded jello salads and PB&J sandwiches cut in halves with the crusts removed and a bucket of fried chicken. You wouldn’t think to put us all together around a table and expect there to be laughter and joy and harmony but it happened.

You know you’re a sister when you can come together in a potluck of acceptance and friendship found in the most unlikeliest of all circumstances. Sisterhood is a delicious, satisfying and comforting meal, shared together.

This is my entry for the ‘I Blog With the Sisterhood’ Type-A Mom Conference contest, hosted by The Sister Project.


Filed under by Malia, I blog they blog wouldn't you like to be a blogger too?, musings

Bloggers & Margaritas

BlogHop-150I have mixed emotions about everything from salad dressing to politics. I see just about everything from at least two sides. I agonize over what I’m going to wear, what I’m going to fix for dinner and which color polish to put on my toes. Too often I second guess myself. Parenting is complete insanity for me because I feel like I’m being either too overprotective or too laissez faire. My life seems to have very little “middle ground”.

Which is why I sit here simultaneously wishing I was at BlogHer ’09 and being glad that I’m not. On one hand…it would be superbly fabulous to get to see my blogging buddies again, attend parties with peeps, get sweet swag and oh, maybe even sit in on a session or six. On the other hand…being home right now with the responsibilities that life has handed me is really the best choice.

Margarit-her_smallBut I know I’m not alone, which is why I’m BlogHoppin’ and gettin’ together with some fellow Nashville area bloggers, who also did not got to Chicago this weekend, for some face time and margaritas.

If you’re here because you’re BlogHoppin’, welcome to my madness! My most favorite thing about blogging is meeting new people! I also hang out on Twitter (ahem, a lot), if you’re so inclined, leave your Twitter handle in your comment. (I’m @justmalia and @wedblissfully!) If you’re a local yokel, some of us lady blogger types are gettin’ our guac on at Cantina Laredo tomorrow night. Hope to see you there!

typeamom-attendeeAnd there’s also this other, smaller but just as fabulous conference know as Type-A Mom Conference coming up in September. It will be in Asheville, NC (great city!) and I’m making plans to attend! Will you also be at Type-A Con?

To my friends who are at BlogHer, I sincerely hope you’re having the time of your lives. Have fun, soak it all in, and take lots of pictures! Here’s hoping that next year, I’ll be joining you!


Filed under I blog they blog wouldn't you like to be a blogger too?, link love, on the other hand

I Found My Thrill On Blueberry {Pie} Hill

PhotobucketI just had the most satisfying kitchen experience I’ve ever had. It was truly a thrill! I made a blueberry pie totally from scratch. I picked the blueberries (with a bit of help from the children.) I made the pie crust (not store bought!) I mixed up the blueberries with a few simple ingredients (not pie filling from a can!) And I baked a gorgeous, yummy, blueberry pie. (I feel a little bit like the Little Red Hen!) I got the best rush from this experience and it has me itching to do more!


I made the pie using a combination of two recipes. The pie crust recipe is from Heather at Home-Ec 101. I was delighted at how easy it really was! I don’t think I can ever justify buying pie crust from the store again. I used the 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup shortening version because I prefer a flaky crust. The only thing I’ll do differently next time will be to not roll the crust out as thin. It was just a tad too thin (in my opinion) in a few spots.

The filling I made using this recipe from Simply Recipes. I also did the recommended egg wash on the crust.

We just couldn't wait any  longer to dig in, that's why the filling is runny. It will thicken more as it cools down.

We just couldn't wait any longer to dig in, that's why the filling is runny. It will thicken more as it cools down.

I topped it with real, homemade whipped topping! (Ice cream would be good, too.) It was a truly tonguegasmic experience!


Filed under life as a domestic goddess

Summer Magic

Each season contains it’s own special magic. The sights, sounds and smells that are unique and particular to the current season all wrap together in a kind of aura that hovers over space and time. Unfortunately, experiencing that magic is often impossible in the moment. You recognize it once the moment is gone, often even years later.

As a mother, I find myself wanting to create that magic for my children. I long for them to have lovely summer memories that they look back on with fondness. Often, I try too hard to accomplish that. I engineer events and schedule outings in hopes that they will make some lasting impression on my children’s brains that they reminisce about in years to come.

Silly me.

What their brains decide to hold on to and remember will have little, if nothing, to do with my orchestrations. I’m not going to give up on it though because even if they don’t remember, I will.


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Filed under kids & family, parenting

More From the CSA Files

We’re a little over a month into our CSA season. I am getting better about either using or giving away the produce that we get each week. It’s quite a challenge because right now, in the midst of the growing season, our weekly “share” seems to get bigger each week! Unfortunately, there’s a lot coming through that our family just isn’t interested in. Beets and celery mainly. And I keep getting these good sized onions as well. I use onion, just not that much! Fortunately, onion keeps pretty well for awhile.

There have a been a few successes though. For instance, the other night I made a side dish to accompany our evening meal made entirely from CSA produce. It was really tasty and everyone liked it! We had received a half pound of green beans and five small red-skinned potatoes. Separately, not enough to feed the family but when put together with some onion and seasoned with some fresh oregano it was a plentiful side dish! (Many thanks to my mother-in-law for inspiring that recipe!)

I’ve used some spearmint to make a yummy fruit tea that received rave reviews and some bibb lettuce to make a salad that David and I devoured. Bibb lettuce, bacon, boiled egg and homemade blue cheese dressing. (Tonguegasmic as we like to say!) I’ve also done a Leek-y Chicken skillet dish (a Rachael Ray recipe) using leeks that we received. I have more leeks and will be repeating that dish since it was fairly well received by the family. (I make an alternate “chicken” dish for JBelle and GMan ends up just eating the chicken and pushing the leeks around his plate. lol) I got more rhubarb last week and made another upside down cake for the 4th of July. My sister-in-law, who grew up eating rhubarb delicacies, thought it was delicious!

We got 3 cucumbers that would be perfect for pickling, so we need to find a fairly simple recipe for pickling so that those can be used as well. We get carrots fairly often, too. They’re small but pretty tasty.


I never got around to taking a picture of the final product. Oops!

I made coleslaw, from scratch(!), using a head of cabbage from our share. My prior experience with making coleslaw consisted of buying a bag of coleslaw veggies and a jar of coleslaw dressing and mixing them together. Making it myself was much more satisfying albeit tedious. (I made sure to loudly express my desire for a food processor to my family members who partook of the coleslaw.) I perused several recipes looking for one that used only ingredients that I had on hand (basically vinegar or apple cider vingear, oil and seasonings.) I admit I was quite taken with this bleu cheese coleslaw recipe from the Barefoot Contessa but that will have to wait for another time! I ended up just adding apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper to the cabbages and carrots (from the grocer, not the CSA) and letting it set in the fridge overnight. It turned out well, and received compliments at dinner that night though I think it could be improved upon. (And my hearty thanks to Heather for telling me how to prepare the cabbage!)


Filed under life as a domestic goddess, link love

A Really Good Day

Last week, Thursday to be precise, I had a really good day. Many things happened that day to make it so good but what I can’t seem to put my finger on is why I’m feeling the need to hang on to it so tightly. It’s gone beyond simply savoring the moments to a full on death grip of not wanting to let go. I feel almost terrified of forgetting that day.

Perhaps it’s because so many good things happened that day. And how often do we get random days that are completely filled happy happenstance? Or perhaps it’s because I knew that it was a good day while it was happening instead of realizing it during an end of day reflection. Being “in the moment” of that goodness was quite profound. And perhaps it’s because up until then, there hadn’t been very many good days at all. Not that not being good had made them bad but more of nondescript, unremarkable, rather forgetful days.

We have a blanket my mother made from old t-shirts. The shirts are mostly from mine and DB’s high school and college days. They’re the kind of shirts that held great significance to those who wore them. Concerts shirts, school logos, sorority events and the like. To you that blanket has no special meaning. Yes, you could look at it and discern special events and particular themes. But, you don’t know the stories behind them or the memories associated with them. When I look at that blanket, it’s like a patch work timeline of one particular period of my life. It’s special to me because I know the stories that go with the shirts and I hold many of the memories made from them.

In order to remember things, I usually try and write them down. And I’ve wanted to write about this really good day for a week now yet it somehow doesn’t seem right to do so here. It’s not that what made the day so good is particularly private or personal. No, it’s that this day was filled with one special encounter after another and they are laid out together in my mind like that t-shirt blanket. I could tell you about it and you could maybe see some of what was special and profound but the significance of it all is really only meaningful to me.

What I think I really want to share with you about the day though is what it taught me. Good days like that one are often few and far between and that’s fine. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be, couldn’t be so very meaningful in our lives. And not everyday can be memorable and remarkable (our brains would surely overload) but more likely than not, there will be a nugget of goodness somewhere in each and every day. A wise woman once told me that at the end of each day she reflects on two things:

What good has happened today? Give thanks. What bad has happened today? Avoid it tomorrow.

And just as His mercies are new every morning comforts us in the bad times, when we know we’ll get a fresh start the next day, the same goes for those really good days. In Benedictine spirituality it is taught that every day we begin again. “If yesterday was a failure, today begin again. If yesterday was filled with successes, great. Today is a new day. Begin again.”

Somehow I will find a way to perserve the memory of that really good day. It could be that it’s time to start a personal journal that could serve as a written t-shirt blanket for times such as these when I need to document and cherish something dear. But I guess it’s time to release the vice grip on that really good day and begin again.


Filed under musings